Mad Elephant Offense (Vaiṣṇava-aparādha)

Sometimes we see that devotees, even though they are following the rules and regulations, appear not to be making very much spiritual advancement. Often we see that they appear to be going backwards rather than forward in their devotional lives. This is often the case of “the mad elephant offense” or vaisnava-aparadha, which can stop or destroy their devotional career, and should be carefully avoided. We have included a few select verses from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam which support this statement.

…To commit an offense against a devotee is very dangerous in devotional service. Lord Caitanya therefore said that an offense to a devotee is just like a mad elephant run loose; when a mad elephant enters a garden, it tramples all the plants. Similarly, an offense unto the feet of a pure devotee murders one’s position in devotional service…

…One’s pure intelligence, or pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, becomes polluted by material activities. Pure consciousness can be revived by the process of sacrifice, charity, pious activities, etc., but when one pollutes his Kṛṣṇa consciousness by offending a brāhmaṇa or a Vaiṣṇava, it is very difficult to revive. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has described the vaiṣṇava-aparādha, or offense to a Vaiṣṇava, as “the mad elephant offense.” One should be very careful not to offend a Vaiṣṇava or a brāhmaṇa…

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.15.39

kṛtsna-prasāda-sumukhaṁ spṛhaṇīya-dhāma
snehāvaloka-kalayā hṛdi saṁspṛśantam
śyāme pṛthāv urasi śobhitayā śriyā svaś-
cūḍāmaṇiṁ subhagayantam ivātma-dhiṣṇyam

The Lord is the reservoir of all pleasure. His auspicious presence is meant for everyone’s benediction, and His affectionate smiling and glancing touch the core of the heart. The Lord’s beautiful bodily color is blackish, and His broad chest is the resting place of the goddess of fortune, who glorifies the entire spiritual world, the summit of all heavenly planets. Thus it appeared that the Lord was personally spreading the beauty and good fortune of the spiritual world.

Purport
When the Lord came, He was pleased with everyone; therefore it is stated here, kṛtsna-prasāda-sumukham. The Lord knew that even the offensive doormen were His pure devotees, although by chance they committed an offense at the feet of other devotees. To commit an offense against a devotee is very dangerous in devotional service. Lord Caitanya therefore said that an offense to a devotee is just like a mad elephant run loose; when a mad elephant enters a garden, it tramples all the plants. Similarly, an offense unto the feet of a pure devotee murders one’s position in devotional service. On the part of the Lord there was no offended mood because He does not accept any offense created by His sincere devotee. But a devotee should be very cautious of committing offenses at the feet of another devotee. The Lord, being equal to all, and being especially inclined to His devotee, looked as mercifully at the offenders as at the offended. This attitude of the Lord was due to His unlimited quantity of transcendental qualities. His cheerful attitude towards the devotees was so pleasing and heart-touching that His very smile was attractive for them. That attraction was glorious not only for all the higher planets of this material world, but beyond, for the spiritual world also. Generally a human being has no idea of what the constitutional position is in the higher material planets, which are far better constituted in regard to all paraphernalia, yet the Vaikuṇṭha planet is so pleasing and so celestial that it is compared to the middle jewel or locket in a necklace of jewels.

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Kṛṣṇa, the Reservoir of Pleasure

Kṛṣṇa, the Reservoir of Pleasure
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Kṛṣṇa—this sound is transcendental. Kṛṣṇa means the highest pleasure. All of us, every living being, seeks pleasure. But we do not know how to seek pleasure perfectly. With a materialistic concept of life, we are frustrated at every step in satisfying our pleasure because we have no information regarding the real level on which to have real pleasure. For the last few weeks we have been learning that we are not this body; we are consciousness. Not exactly consciousness, for consciousness is actually the symptom of our real identity: we are pure soul, now merged within this material body. Modern material science lays no stress on this; therefore the scientists are sometimes misled in their understanding of spirit soul. But spirit soul is a fact, which anyone can understand by the presence of consciousness. Any child can understand that consciousness is the symptom of the spirit soul.

Now the whole process we are trying to learn from the Bhagavad-gītā (The Song of God) is how to bring ourselves to this level of consciousness. And if we act from the level of consciousness, then we may not be pushed again into the level of this bodily conception; and, if we can continue on that level, if we can continue to act in pure consciousness, then, at the end of this body we shall be free from material contamination, our spiritual life will be revived, and the ultimate result will be that in our next life, after leaving this body, we shall have our full, eternal spiritual life. Spirit, as we have already discussed, is described as eternal.

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You Can Live With Krsna, Even in This Life

Photo by Damaghosa Prabhu

“If you become devotee of Krsna, then you can live with Krsna, even in this life. Even in this life. Because Krsna is omnipotent, if you are really devotee of Krsna, He will talk with you, He will dance with you, He will eat with you, everything.”

Lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
December 25, 1973, Los Angeles
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.47-48

Pradyumna: “Thus by pure consciousness due to constant devotional remembrance, they attained the spiritual sky, which is ruled by the Supreme Nārāyaṇa, Lord Kṛṣṇa. This is attained only by those who meditate upon the one Supreme Lord without deviation. This abode of the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, known as Goloka Vṛndāvana, cannot be attained by persons who are absorbed in the material conception of life. But the Pāṇḍavas, being completely washed of all material contamination, attained that abode in their very same bodies.” [SB 1.15.47-48]

Prabhupāda: Tad-dhyāna udriktayā. Dhyāna means meditation. So the Pāṇḍavas, always they were thinking of Kṛṣṇa. While they were eating, they were sitting, they were sleeping, they were talking, they were fighting-Kṛṣṇa. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. When Arjuna was fighting, so there was also Kṛṣṇa. When they were dealing in politics with Duryodhana, there was Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is his friend, always talking with him, staying with him, sleeping with him, eating with him.

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